Everyone You Meet is Somebody’s Somebody

secret 5Every Friday night is date night with my 5-year-old grandchild. It’s our time to hang out and do what ever she wants to do. We usually start out at her favorite eatery and end up at the local toy store. I cherish the time we get to spend together. We where enjoying a fun moment when she playfully grabbed my hat and put it on. “Hey Poppa” she said – “I’m you and you are Mr. No Buddy”. It came as a shock to me because I’d never heard her say that before. I knew she was just repeating what she had heard at school. She didn’t realize how hurtful that saying can be.

Children are sponges. They soak up everything they see and hear. They are a reflection of the environment around them. Adults, especially parents, need to be mindful of the lessons they are teaching their children. Children aren’t born bullies. They learn that from others. Children aren’t born haters. They learn that from others. Children aren’t born racists. They learn that from others. You are the greatest influence in your child’s life. They take their lead from you.

What lessons are you teaching your child? Are you teaching them to be tolerant, compassionate and respectful of others?  Do they know what it means to be a good citizen, to be kind to others and lead by example? Do they know that everyone you meet is somebody’s somebody? You have a very important job to do. I hope you are up for the task. The next generation of parents are counting on you.

Copyright (c) 2015. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission.  Brian is available for key note speeches or conducting workshops on a variety of soft-skills topics. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

Lost in Translation

Positive Feeback“You cannot love a person into creativity, although you can avoid their dissatisfaction with the way you treat them” – Frederick Herzberg. Words are powerful. The words you choose and how you say them have the power to build people up or tear them down. Drawing attention to a person’s mistakes is not going to be received well. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t take “constructive criticism” personally. According to Collins Dictionary “construct” means to build while “criticism” means to pass judgement on someone. How can you build someone up while passing judgement on them?

You have a choice to make. You can either dwell on what they’ve done wrong or congratulate them on what they’ve done well – and what they need to do to improve. It can be as simple as replacing the word “but” with “and”. You can either dwell on the fact that they have made a mistake – or you can get past it by accepting the fact that everyone makes mistakes and move on from there. What is – is. What happened – happened. Change your mindset in a positive way by thinking about the mistakes people make as teachable moments. Use the opportunity to praise them for what they’ve done well and teach them what they need to do the next time , so they don’t keep repeating what went wrong.

Creating a teachable moment is an opportunity for both of you to grow. You’ll grow as a teacher and they’ll grow as a person by learning a new skill that will help them perform better in the future. The next time you have an opportunity to create a teachable moment use the sandwich technique. “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise” – Mary Kay Ash. It’s a great way to keep your emotions in check and to turn the situation into a positive experience for both of you. You don’t want to change them – you just want to change what went wrong.

Step One: Start the conversation off by saying something positive about them or what they’ve done. Or how they contribute to the overall success of the team, department, organization, etc.. Remember – You are not looking to change them – you just want to change what they are doing that’s not getting the results you are looking for.

Step Two: Let them know the negative impact their actions are having and what problems they are creating. Let them know you are there to help them succeed. Ask some good open-ended questions to drill down and find out why these mistakes are happening. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Get their input on what needs to be done to fix it. Agree on a plan of action. You need to get buy-in so be sure to include their ideas in the plan.

Step Three: Let them know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following up with them to make sure that the plan you’ve agreed on is getting the desired results. If not – you need to agree on a new plan. People do what you inspect not what you expect. Follow up, follow-up and then follow-up some more. You need to change the habit to change the result.

 Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or planning an in-house training session? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out what Brian can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

Good Enough is Good Enough – Perfection is Highly Overrated 4

Perfection 2Twenty percent of your effort will get you Eighty Percent of your results. I like those odds. If it was good enough for Pareto it’s good enough for me. Perfection is highly overrated. Why strive for perfection when good enough – is usually good enough? Waiting until you’ve written the perfect plan shouldn’t get in the way of you actually accomplishing something. Paralysis by analysis. You can over think things. One thing you have to know for certain is that nothing is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect plan. Unless you are clairvoyant and can look into the future, there are somethings that will happen that you just can’t predict. And if you can’t predict them that means your plan has to be flexible enough to be able to deal with those unforseen events that may happen along the way.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it”. I think Salvador Dali was on to something. Instead of striving for perfection why not just settle for progress. Why not just settle for good enough. You may not be on time because you had to take the odd detour to end up at your final destination – but you will be on target. And when all is said and done – isn’t that what you wanted to accomplish in the first place? So lighten up. Give yourself a break. Have a plan – and work your plan – and eventually you’ll end up just where you wanted to be. And most importantly, remember to stress less and enjoy the journey.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith-PLD – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a speaker who can present an entertaining and informative session of a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian today. You won’t be disappointed http://briansmithpld.com

Going Along to Get Along – The Art of Working With People You Don’t Like 1

grumpy ladyYou may not like some of the people you work with – but the truth is – you need to learn how to get along with them. Think of a job that you could do in your life time that didn’t involve working with people. You’d be hard pressed to come up with one.  Dealing with difficult people and challenging situations is a learned behavior. You just need to decide if it’s worth it. But trust me – If you are looking for a career in sales, owning and operating a business some day or managing and leading others then it’s not open for debate – the ability to get along with others is a must have.

Think of someone you are having difficulty connecting with. You don’t know why but there is something about them that drives you crazy. There is something about them that makes you want to pick up a heavy object and smack them across the side of the head. Before you do something that might get you arrested give this 3-step process a try. Remember – you don’t have to like them you just need to learn how to work with them. The 3 R’s will teach you how.

Rapport: Find out something about them that you could use to strike up a conversation. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children or grand children? What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they like to hunt, fish, play golf or read books? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them on a subject that they like. You need to get them talking. Idle chit-chat is important to establish rapport. And you need to establish rapport to move to the next level. You can’t develop a relationship with someone until you’ve established rapport first.

Relationship: Successful sales people understand the value of developing a relationship with their clients. People like to do business with and buy products or services from people they like. You need to develop a relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You need to develop a relationship with the people you’re going to manage or lead. No one wants to let a friend down. If they like you they will go to great lengths so they don’t disappoint you. You need to develop a relationship before you can move on to the final step – respect.

Respect: The final step in this 3-step process is respect. If you have established a rapport and developed a relationship with the people you work with and interact with, then chances are they will respect you for you. They may not like what you said or what you did but, they will respect you and will most likely forgive you. However, keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. You must give it to get it. You can’t demand it. People respect people that they have developed a relationship with.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft-skills topics including; communication, time management, coping with stress and dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com